BP joins Daimler in backing Israeli fast-charge battery company

BP will invest $20 million in Israeli firm StoreDot, a developer of ultrafast charging for batteries, a technology that may be key for accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles.

The lithium ion technology developed by StoreDot has the potential to recharge a car battery as quickly as refilling a gasoline tank, according to a joint statement released Tuesday.

StoreDot's "flash batteries" will be deployed in mobile devices as early as next year and BP's investment will help bring them to vehicles. Last September, Daimler became a strategic partner when StoreDot raised $60 million in financing.

BP's collaboration with StoreDot is just the latest example of major oil producers backing technology that could help drive the mass adoption of EVs. The investments serve a dual purpose -- potentially providing a shield against criticism about their contribution to climate change, while also offering a commercial foothold in a technology that could account for half of all new car sales by 2040 and wipe out 6.4 million barrels a day of oil demand.

"Ultra-fast charging is at the heart of BP's electrification strategy," Tufan Erginbilgic, CEO of the company's downstream division, said in the statement. "We are committed to be the fuel provider of choice -- no matter what car our customers drive."

BP has more than 70 charge points on its retail sites globally. In January it invested $5 million in FreeWire Technologies, which makes mobile rapid charging systems for EVs. This month, it signed a memorandum of understanding with China's NIO Capital to explore opportunities in advanced mobility.